Pilots and flight attendants in India might be banned from using perfume as per the newly proposed regulation by the Office of Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA, the government body that regulates civil aviation in the country). This recently proposed update in the bylaw focuses on alcohol consumption and use of perfume, all aimed towards strengthening aviation safety and preventing false-positive breath analyser test results.
- Apart from alcoholic drinks that could produce a positive breath test, in the guidelines it is mentioned that use of 'mouthwash' and 'tooth gel' could also lead to a positive breath test.
- However, a new section in the guidelines sheds light on the use of 'perfume'.
- The proposed guidelines read, "No crew member shall consume any drug/formulation or use any substance such as mouthwash/tooth gel/perfume or any such product which has alcoholic content. This may result into positive breath analyser test."
- It also said, "Any crew member who is undergoing such medication shall consult the company doctor before undertaking flying assignment."
So what's the reason behind banning pilots and flight attendants from using perfume?
- Many perfumes contain alcohol and this could lead to a false-positive breathalyser test result.
- Thus, to avoid false-positive breathalyser test result, the ban on using perfumes is being considered.
- Although, it is not clarified if wearing perfume on one’s body can lead to a false positive breath test, CNN reported.
- This proposed regulation is up for public comment through October 5.
Aviation safety and false-positive breathalyser result
- It comes as no surprise that pilot drunkenness is a problem in the aviation industry.
- In order to tackle this issue and prevent any compromises in the levels of aviation safety (ensure pilots and cabin crew have not consumed alcohol) pilots and cabin crew are regularly subjected to pre-flight breathalyser examination.
- If there is even the smallest amount of alcohol is considered a positive result and an instant three-month licence suspension is possible.
- Through this newly proposed ban, DGCA seeks to strengthen aviation safety, prevent compromise of any sobriety standards, and ensure that the pilots and flight attendants do not consume any items that contain alcohol.
- This perfume ban also seeks to curb the possibility of falsely positive breathalyser results.
In 2022, 41 Indian pilots and 116 cabin crew members had their licences temporarily suspended because they tested positive for alcohol.